The Last Days of Disco + Boogie Nights on 35mm
May 07 only
Although it may appear as an unlikely pairing on the surface, Paul Thomas Anderson’s BOOGIE NIGHTS and Whit Stillman’s THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO share a myriad of similarities.
- They are both singular achievements in ’90s cinema.
- Each film celebrates and elegizes the beginning and end of different eras in American culture.
- The most important intersection is that they are both multi-faceted portraits of surrogate families—an assemblage of individuals whose bond is not created through genetics, but passions.
In the case of BOOGIE NIGHTS that passion is performance. From runaway teenager Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg) to Buck Swope (Don Cheadle), these are people who love to act, emote, and, yes, have sex on camera. But Anderson’s sprawling carnal epic is not about the inner-workings of the porn industry. It’s about wayward humans on the fringe, the displaced, who congregate at Jack Horner’s (Burt Reynolds) San Fernando Valley playpen out of necessity. In this space, these characters are completely, blissfully, free—unencumbered by the demands of day-to-day reality (i.e. parenting, finding stable work, etc). Here, away from an outside world that continues to stigmatize those who profit from renting out their bodies, Diggler, Buck, and others can be themselves, without judgement.
Albeit with more optimism, THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO also captures this desire for familial companionship. In Stillman’s Manhattan-set masterpiece, the characters are middle-to-upper-class 20s-somethings who love to boogie to the sounds of disco. Donna Summers. Diana Ross. Sister Sledge. As in BOOGIE NIGHTS, each of these characters—from Chloe Sevigny’s Alice to Kate Beckinsale’s Charlotte—find temporary solace in being around one another. Away from the utopic discotech, life is endlessly painful and messy. Relationships are born just as quickly as they are broken. Youthful love fades, or worse, dangles right in front of them as they cheat on one another. Then there are career goals, always lofty and naive, that inevitably cause some characters to grow together or drift apart. But in the midst of all this madness that Stillman skillfully orchestrates, there is dance. Pure, unadulterated, dancing.
Both films on glorious, era-appropriate 35mm!
FREE OR DISCOUNTED FOR ROXIE MEMBERS
The Last Days of Disco + Boogie Nights on 35mm: Upcoming Showtimes